Photo by Sarah Schrock
A wide range of STEM activities kept kids engaged at the Winthrop library.

By Sarah Schrock

Have you paid your water and sewer utility bill this month? You can now pay our bill online, but just this week you should make a point of coming into Town Hall and paying your respects to Janie Surface and pay the old-fashioned way. After 23 years of public service, Janie will be retiring from her position as the assistant clerk.

Janie started her career with the town in the police department where she worked for four years until moving over to utility billing. She’s enjoyed seeing the evolution of town government through the years as it’s become busier, especially with the success of Twisp’s grant acquisitions. Janie notes that technology is constantly changing the nature of the work, like the transition from paper files to cloud storage of documents to radio metering of water meters. She’s enjoyed the privilege of

working with great public employees over the past few years and is particularly proud and fond of the community’s upgrades to the pool in recent years.

Janie is excited to spend more time outdoors, especially this winter, she’s anticipating being able to cross country ski mid-week instead of fighting crowds and waiting for the weekend. She’s signed up for an enrichment class this winter to keep her mind active and looks forward to some traveling. Future work isn’t out of the question, but she will do something completely different.

The new assistant clerk, Andrea Thompson, has been training under Janie since November. Don’t give her a hard time if she doesn’t greet you by first name right away. Janie’s knack for remembering names was mastered in her tenure at the front counter — those will be difficult shoes to fill. Besides her friendly and gracious demeanor at the front desk, one thing that will be missed around Town Hall is Janie’s mother’s cookies, which always kept the morale high during the drudgery of office days.

Photo by Sarah Schrock Members of the Methow Valley Junior Nordic Team joined Santa and other kids in cookie decorating at Sun Mountain Lodge last week.

Saturday (Dec. 30), from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., the Methow Valley Biathlon Team, a division of the Nordic Team, will be hosting Try a Biathlon at the Mazama biathlon range! The annual event is a fundraiser for the team. The event is open to anyone 9 years and up.

The entrance donation of $25 will go directly to the team, which has sent shooters on to the international circuit and beyond. Skiers should ski to the range from the Mazama Corral parking lot. The range is just a few hundred yards beyond the parking area on the left side of the trail system.

Junior Nordic team members skied up to Sun Mountain last week to decorate cookies and visit Santa, an annual tradition for the team. This week the Nordic Team will be hosting its two-day holiday ski camp for kids in Mazama, Dec. 28 – 29.

Low snowpack will restrict full operations at the Loup this week, but the hill will be open on the lower lifts for beginner skiers, Nordic trails, tubing and the new luge on Wednesday and Thursday. Full operations will start on Friday.

The libraries in both towns have been a good refuge from the cold temperatures for kids on break. An all-day STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activity program in Winthrop last week attracted a stream of kids who could engage in all kinds of hands-on engineering and problem-solving tasks. STEM programs run every second Thursday at the Twisp library after school. Kids can take bus No. 4 from the school to the library to partake in the fun.

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